Making Appointments

Making an appointment is often more difficult than you expect. And being sick or injured can make it even tougher. Here are tips to help you get the care you need when you need it.

Ask for Help
Have What You Need On-Hand
Tips for Making the Appointment
What to Do If You Can’t Get an Appointment
Back-Up Plans

Ask for Help: Making an appointment can take a lot of time and energy, two things that can be tough to find when you are not feeling well. If this is the case, find someone who can help you.

Be Prepared: You may have to give a lot of information, so have all your paperwork in hand before the call, including:

  • Health Care Information: A list of your doctors and their contact information, plus any health records, such as test results or lab reports, that you might need
  • Insurance and Payment: Have your health insurance card or number at the ready, plus any additional information you might need for payment such as your union membership, prescription drug plan number, etc. Tip: If numbers are difficult for you to read, write or type them in large letters, and note what they refer to (example: Insurance Number: 123456)
  • A pad and pencil to take notes or for special instructions.

Tips for Making the Appointment

  • Set time aside for the call(s), and be business-like and friendly — this can go a long way.
  • Always identify yourself by giving your name and birth date.
  • Give the reason for your call, and if it’s urgent. If a doctor referred you, say so and give her name.
  • Put the date/time of the appointment in your calendar right away.
  • Ask for the office’s cancellation policy.

What to Do if You Are Having Trouble Getting An Appointment 

  • Ask to speak with the office manager, or the person in charge. If the problem is not resolved, leave a message for the doctor to call you back.
  • Keep at it. Persistence is a mighty thing. Again, be polite and firm, but keep making the point that this appointment is important (if it is).
  • Enlist the help of the doctor who is referring you, especially if the matter is urgent. See if her office can call on your behalf, or if she can suggest a different doctor to go to. Or, try calling the office after hours and leaving a message for the doctor. Hopefully, you will get good results!

Have a Back-Up Plan for the times when you can’t get in to see the doctor of your choice.

  • Find an urgent care center or clinic near you. (You can them in the phone book or online).
  • Call your local health department, and ask what services they provide or can refer you to.
  • If it is an emergency, call 9-1-1, or go to the nearest emergency room.